Poppy Harlow Has Patience of a Saint

Poppy

Yesterday CNN’s Poppy Harlow had an interesting encounter with Roy Moore’s – spokeswoman Jane Porter. I use the word encounter instead of interview because Porter refused to actually be interviewed, preferring instead to ignore Harlow’s questions and say what she wanted. This is not a new tactic, but it has become overused to the point of being infantile.

… journalists are going to have to start informing interviewees that if they continue to evade and ignore the questions asked the interview will be terminated

Sooner or later, and I hope it is sooner, journalists are going to have to start informing interviewees that if they continue to evade and ignore the questions asked the interview will be terminated. It is a journalist’s job to ask tough questions. If the person being interviewed does not like a question they can tell the asker that they will not answer it, but to have them ignore the question and drone on about a different topic should not be tolerated.

Responses to questions that begin with:

What I think you should be asking
The real issue here
What’s more important

Should be cut-off immediately as they are clear indicators that the interviewee is not going to answer the posed question, but is going to go off on a different tangent entirely.

In yesterday’s encounter Harlow, who evidently has the patience of a saint, spent most of the time asking Porter if she was going to answer a specific question, but she never got a simple yes or no.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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In Montreal It’s Bonjour-Hi

Hi

You might think that a city that can and does function in two languages would be a benefit. Particularly when that city is located less than 100 miles from the United States. Montreal is just such a city, offering tourists a real taste of a French-speaking city with the comfort of being understood in English.

Just about perfect you might say. Who could possibly find fault with the concept of store clerks, wait staff, cab drivers and just plain folks greeting one another with Bonjour-Hi? This little couplet has become an unofficial motto for Montreal, one that some see as a welcoming means of determining in which language to continue the discourse, while others deem it an irritant.

The opposition Parti-Québécois wants to pass a motion declaring the use of Bonjour-Hi an irritant. This party would like to see English usage in Montreal eradicated. Instead of embracing the bilingual nature of the city, they push their heads into the sand and refuse to see the positive side of the coin. When it comes to the language debate, Quebec politics turns zoo-like in a hurry.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

Take Back The U.S.A.

TakeBackUSA

A snippet of observation from the safety of my armchair sociologist’s lair. It is not news that in the last US election Hillary Clinton garnered 48.2% of the popular vote to Donald Trump’s 46.1%. A not insignificant difference of 2.1%. However the Electoral College system gave the election to Trump based on the distribution of votes. That’s the way it works, frustrating as it may be.

… those in the majority appear to be taking a weather approach; as in, everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything.

But Electoral College aside for a moment, the fact that more people voted against Trump, in a two candidate race – more people voted against Bill Clinton than for him 1992, but Ross Perot split the Republican votes – cannot be swept under the carpet. However those in the majority appear to be taking a weather approach; as in, everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything.

Immediately following the election and inauguration there was a flurry of activity in the form of marches, protests, and demonstrations.  What happened? I’m not seeing on CNN wall to wall coverage of peaceful expressions of dissatisfaction not with the system, but with Trump. Evidently the 65,844,610 electors who voted for Hillary Clinton have opted to leave their plight in the hands of Robert Mueller and his investigation at best or with billionaire Tom Steyer and his www.needtoimpeach.com movement at worst. While I believe Steyer hits the nail on the head with his ads, I cannot quite see his venture being successful.

Trump once said: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters”. At first that sounded totally absurd, but conceivably he may be onto something. Did he understand before others that his base, his peeps, were with him through thick and thin?  No matter what he says or does, for all the outcries and editorials, he just coasts right along. Everyday he tweets or comments something that tests the strength of his people; most recently calling Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas at, of all place, an event honouring Native veterans.

I think the 48.2% need to start a Take Back the Country, movement, the one that has been wrested away from you,  before it is too late.

Watching all of this play out from north of the 49th parallel makes me wonder if the majority, those who cast ballots not for Donald Trump, comprehend the damage this man is doing to your country as seen from the outside. Trump claims he is working to make America great again, as a neighbour I would suggest the country has never not been great, but is now in serious peril of becoming a laughingstock.

There is a movement to expose and end violence against women called Take Back The Night, make it safe for women to walk at night again. I think the 48.2% need to start a Take Back the Country, movement, the one that has been wrested away from you,  before it is too late.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Bees Denied Protest Permit

Bee

One bright sunny day last summer I looked out my window and there was a large bumble bee repeatedly flying into the glass. Clearly he was trying to get my attention for some reason. I moved to the window and tapped on it. He motioned for me to open it but, being leery of bee stings I was hesitant. Glomming on to my apprehensiveness he made a point of showing me that he was without stinger by rolling on the window to expose all his fuzzy angles.

I expected him to come zooming into my apartment, but instead he ducked his head and lifted his legs in over the window track like a prizefighter entering the ring. 

I decided to take a chance and open the window and just a pinch. I expected him to come zooming into my apartment, but instead he ducked his head and lifted his legs in over the window track like a prizefighter entering the ring. He mentioned that some years ago I had interviewed his uncle Basil regarding the use of bees in landmine detection.

Of course I recalled that post and asked about Basil. My guest informed that Basil was now retired and “Living in a senior bee’s hive”. I asked if he saw him often.

“I try to drop in a couple of times a month or so,” he said. “But he sits there with other old bees droning on about how good things used to be. Pollen was plentiful, people had yet to catch on that male bees have no stingers, the honey was sweeter, and the prices better.”

At this I informed him that I was one of those who was unaware of the stinger-less nature of male bees. But then I remembered how Basil had made quite a to-do about sheathing his stinger while talking to me.

“Ya, he used to pull that one all the time,” he told me. “A lot of the older bees did that to maintain the fear factor. Then along came the internet and now everybody know they were being duped.”

He went on to say that his parents loved all kinds of music and composers including, of course, Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov but that their favourite genre was bebop.

Getting back to my current guest I asked him his name.

“Branford,” he answered.

“Oh,” I said. “Your parents must have been jazz fans. I assume you were named for Branford Marsalis.”

He confirmed that I was correct, he had indeed been named after the great Jazz instrumentalist. He went on to say that his parents loved all kinds of music and composers including, of course, Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov but that their favourite genre was bebop.

With the formalities out of the way I asked Branford if he wanted anything, as I recalled his uncle enjoying a cool sip of water. “No time for that” he told me.

“Fine,” I uttered. “What can I do for you?”

“Well, you are no doubt aware of our diminishing numbers. Bees are disappearing in droves.  The problem in a nutshell is climate change. We used to arrive in the late spring, hang around all summer then bug out in the fall. But now the seasons are overlapping and the temperatures can be hot in October and cool in May. A bee doesn’t know what to wear. Many of my fellow buzzers have succumbed to heat exhaustion or hypothermia.” he explained.

I knew there was a lack of bees, but had never had it brought to my attention by an actual bee.

He continued, “I am here not on behalf of my uncle, but as a senior member of the ‘Bees’ Lives Matter’ movement that we have formed.

I congratulated him on the organization. He elaborated that the movement was all about informing people about the dangers of climate change. I told him he had his work cut out for him if the current president is any indication.

“You see, a large group of people protesting is called a crowd, or a manifestation, or a mob, or but a mass of bees is called a swarm!…”

“Exactly what we are up against,” he said heaving a sigh of frustration. “But it gets worse. Other movements apply for permits to hold demonstrations. In Washington, Ottawa or any city really. We believe this would be an effective tool to get our message across. But we can’t get a permit.”

“Why ever not,” I asked.

“You see, a large group of people protesting is called a crowd, or a manifestation, or a mob, or but a mass of bees is called a swarm! To amass a huge group of us and descend on a city would quickly result in the spraying of insecticide and would wipe out millions of us. It would be a one-way ticket to extinction.”

I understood his conundrum, but I was not certain how I could be of assistance to him and his cause. He told me it wasn’t really me he was relying on for help, but rather my pit bull friend.

“We have watched and read with great interest how your pal and his fellow canines stood up to the pit bull ban, first by skirting it, then by political means. We would like to meet with him.”

So I was to be a go between. I’ll keep you informed.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Canadian Prime Minister Prefers a Pint

Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau checks the quality of a selfie with an admirer.

From time to time I like to drop in for a pint or two at a downtown Iris pub here in Montreal. Rather than rotting my liver, I prefer to think of it as carrying out a civic duty since, as the photo above shows, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also likes to pop into the Irish Embassy Pub and Grill.

Although I was not present when the PM arrived unannounced, I have been told he stayed for a couple of pints, offered to pay but was told it was the pleasure of the house to have his company. He was approachable and open to a few selfies.

Had I been there I could have mentioned the time I was stuck in an elevator with his father, the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau. No doubt the former Prime Minister must have told that tale countless times at the dinner table as the kids were growing up. I like to think it makes up part of the Trudeau family lore. Mind you I also like to think there is an Easter Bunny. Oh well…

By the way, there was some very discreet security present, lest you think our PM sneaks out alone at night to quaff beer and chat up pretty women.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

The Orange and the Green

Known as The Orange and the Green, or The Biggest Mix Up, this Irish folk song illustrated the lighter side of the religious divide that caused so much harm during The Troubles.

Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

Oh my father was an Ulsterman, proud Protestant was he
My mother was a Catholic girl, from County Cork was she
They were married in two churches, lived happily enough
Until the day that I was born and things got rather tough

Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

Baptised by father Reilly, I was rushed away by car
To be made a little orangeman, my father’s shining star
I was christened David Anthony, but still in spite of that
To my father I was William while my mother called me Pat

Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

With mother every Sunday to mass I’d proudly stroll
Then after that the orange lads would try to save my soul
For both sides tried to claim me, but I was smart because
I played the flute or played the harp, depending where I was

Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

One day my ma’s relations came round to visit me
Just as my father’s kinfolk were all sittin’ down to tea
We tried to smooth things over, but they all began to fight
And me being strictly neutral, I bashed everyone in sight

Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

Now my parents never could agree about my type of school
My learning was all done at home, that’s why I’m such a fool
They both passed on, god rest them, but left me caught between
That awful color problem of the orange and the green

Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

Yes it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Pit Bull Take on Montreal Election

MTL_Election

With Montreal a mere two weeks from municipal elections and one of the stump speech topics being the pit bull ban – the incumbent mayor is responsible for the current breed specific ban while his main opponent vows to overturn the law if elected – I thought it was time for me to go straight to the … er… pit bull’s mouth and catch-up with my canine friend. I have had two interviews with him which you can read here and here.

I contacted him in the usual manner which, of course, I cannot divulge, but it requires a text message and not an ultrasonic whistle. He was slow to reply but agreed to a short interview, given the seriousness of the issue in light of the election campaign.

I secured the usual payment of Milkbone large dog biscuits and made my way to the designated location. Upon arrival, I was patted down and sniffed fervently by a large pit bull. I have learned not to fear this process, and no longer think the guard dog is going for my jugular when he nears me and stands on his hind legs, although it is still a bit off-putting, dog’s breath and all. Having passed the security check I was nudged into a small room where my interlocutor awaited me.

The room was furnished with a table and one chair. The table was snout high, and dogs don’t use chairs.

“Hello,” I started. “How are…”

“Fine, let’s get to it. I’m very busy,” he cut me off. “First let’s have them.”

At this I obeyed and placed a significant number, but not all, of the Milkbones on the table. I kept some to use later to lengthen the interview if necessary. He sniffed at them, poked at them held one up to the light before tossing it into his mouth.

“Okay, they’re real. Not dollar store knock-offs,” he mumbled.

Thinking I had fulfilled the requirements I began my questioning. “Sir, where do you …”.

Again he cut me off, this time he was tapping a large claw on the table in the vicinity of the biscuits. “All of them.”

“I beg your pardon,” I stalled.

“Put all the biscuits on the table,” he growled. :”I’m a dog. Do you not think I can smell a Milkbone in a pocket two feet away? No more games.”

Pit_Bull

Sheepishly I emptied my pockets of biscuits and turned them inside out. He stared at me in such a way that I thought he was going to call off the whole thing, but he just shook his head in disgust.

”Have you been following the election campaign?,” I asked.

“Of course,” he snapped. “I’ve been active in trying to unseat this so-called mayor. For us there is only one issue, so the lines have been drawn. Pit bull ban vs no pit bull ban. Very simple, as basic as our very identity” He stated this in a matter of fact way while idly crunching on a biscuit. “It seems abundantly clear which candidate to vote for. Can you imagine many people voting for a man who openly attests his dislike of pit bulls?”

“Well,” I started fully expecting to be interrupted again. “There are other issues such as tax, road conditions, public transit.”

He slowly rose from where he had been sitting at the end of the table and made his way to me. Sitting on the floor he stared at me as if I was totally mad. “Tell me, Sunshine,” he said. “Have you ever had a dog?”

I told him our family had had several dogs when I was a kid.

“Did any of them pay taxes, drive a motor vehicle or take the bus? Did any of them care about green spaces or building permits? I think not. We usually forgo the whole election process, not wanting to sully our paws in the corrupt world of politics. If not for the pit bull ban I can assure you we would not be mobilizing.”

“And just how are you planning to mobilize? What do you have planned?” I asked, hitting my stride.

“Very simple. People cast ballots at polls; dogs pee on poles,” he explained with a smirk.

“But those are two different words, two different things.” I pointed out.

“I don’t like dog licenses – we’re not Volkswagens or Mazdas – but I am familiar with creative license. Polls or poles, you get my drift I hope,” he said.

“So if I understand it is your intention to have masses of dogs mobilize to urinate on polling stations and in fact the actual polls,” I asked.

“Got it in one Sunshine,” he quipped while tossing the last Milkbone into his mouth. “Gotta get going now. Getting the message out to dogs, helping them locate their peeing …er …polling station and encouraging them to drink lots of water takes up most of my time these days. Ciao.”

I thanked him and made my way out of his office under the watchful eye of the security dog. It’s going to be an interesting election.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

Quebec Law Banning Face Covering Passed

Aislin62

Allow me to express my opinion now that the legislature of my province has passed a controversial law. Known as Bill 62, it bans the wearing of face covers when providing or receiving any public service. This means that here in Quebec, should you be on your way to a protest march you must remove that very popular Anonymous mask while on the bus or metro.

This means that here in Quebec, should you be on your way to a protest march you must remove that Anonymous mask while on the bus or metro.

That’s the simple part of the law. Where it becomes contentious is when niqab and burqa wearers enter the equation. Muslim women are required to wear some form head covering. The most common garment here is the hijab, a headscarf that does not cover the face. Niqabs and burqas cover the entire face of the wearer and then some.

While I disagree with the whole concept of making women cover their faces in principle, the enforcement of the law will make things worse. When I was young bus drivers not only drove the bus, they also sold tickets and made change. This not only interfered with their concentration while driving but made them easy targets for robbers.

Headware

Now it seems bus drivers will have to act as ‘scarf police’, telling niqab and burqa-wearing women that they cannot ride the bus unless they remove their face covering. I have not heard the drivers’ union reaction yet, but I can’t imagine they will be in favour of this new task.

… but I fear more for the Muslim women who may meet up with a driver who has no problem at all and takes advantage of the situation to enforce his or her bias.

Exam invigilators at colleges and universities, if public, will also be required to ask that face coverings be removed if the person is to be allowed to write the exam. I agree with this fully as it eliminates the possibility of having someone else write the exam, say someone who is much better at physics that the actual student.

It seems to me that the potential for conflict far outweighs the usefulness of this law. I feel for the bus drivers who may not be comfortable with their new role, but I fear more for the Muslim women who may meet up with a driver who has no problem at all and takes advantage of the situation to enforce his or her bias.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Montreal Mayoralty Candidate With a Twist

It’s municipal election campaign time in Montreal. Along with countless radio interviews and television appearances featuring candidates from all parties, the city is awash with posters. Most streets are festooned with posters attached to posts, poles, and walls.

Not surprisingly these posters, with lovely full-colour photographs of candidates, are often vandalized. Sometimes it is harmless doodles such as eyeglasses or a mustache, sometimes a criticism or the candidate and unfortunately the occasional racist comment.

One candidate, Tyler Lemco, who is seeking the mayor’s chair – well, sort of – has solved the problem by posting signs and encouraging people to deface them. As reported in the Montreal Gazette: It’s his first election campaign, but not his first election-sign campaign. In the 2015 federal election, he put up several posters featuring his name, his face, a city of Montreal logo and his slogan: “Not running for anything, I just wanted a sign.”

I happened to pass one of his signs yesterday and although I did not succumb to the temptation I was amused by one comment in particular about not wanting to be told what to do. A great representation of how you can please some of the people some of the time …….

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Kung Fu Fraud: Justin Trudeau Visits Donald Trump

That’s not Master Kan … he’s a fraud!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+